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Feds shouldn't intrude in marriage contract

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Posted: Friday, June 13, 2008 10:00 pm

The California Supreme Court has mandated that all 58 counties in the state issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning June 16.

To make things interesting, the California Marriage Amendment has qualified for the November election. Voters will get to decide on Nov. 4 whether the state constitution will be amended to limit marriage to that between one man and one woman.

A question I haven't heard asked is: Why should anyone have to obtain permission from the government in order to get married? Until the 13th century, marriage was a private contract between two families. That is when the church decreed that a "licit" marriage was one sanctioned by church officials. Marriages performed out of the church were illicit, but they continued. In the 16th century, European nations began to set rules for legal marriages. The American Colonies only required that marriages be registered. Marriages were considered contracts between individuals, supported by both families involved. By the end of the 19th century, governments prohibited whites from marring blacks, Asians or Indians. In other words, whites could only marry other whites. Although the courts overturned laws against inter-racial marriages, governments didn't want to relinquish their control over the marriage contract.

At the present time, all states require those wishing to marry obtain permission from the government by applying for a license. There are minimal age requirements and some states require a blood test for sexually transmitted disease. The state also requires that the ceremony be performed by a state recognized clergy or a government agent such as a judge.

It is time that freedom-loving people say "enough" to the immoral governmental intrusion into this sacred private contract. There is no moral reason for government to be a third party to the marriage contract. The legislature should do the right thing and repeal sections 300 through 536 of the California Family Code. Other sections can be repealed at a later time. The time is right. Let's do it.

Cliff Shirk Sr.


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